Values, Strengths, Passions

Stopping By Woods on a Summer Evening

I am an artist. So are you, unless you don’t want to be. I’m not in charge of you. But, I am in charge of me, and I believe that I am an artist.

The journey an artist goes on is a well-worn footpath, a walk in the woods. The dirt is pressed tightly beneath the echoed trails of thousands of artists who have walked before them. But in the trees are whispers of places that have not felt footsteps in generations.

The mainstream is the well-worn path. Making content, creating entertainment, and trying to find a meaningful basis for it all is the challenge every artist faces. In order to uncover apparently “new” ideas, they have to search and struggle to navigate about topics that have not been yet mapped out or analyzed. Worst of all, none of the paths an artist walks, no matter how overgrown, is truly new. It may be new as of this generation, or as of the past few generations, but each piece of art that is made has its roots in the work of many past artists.

I want to walk deep in the woods of the world wide web and find a way to make a meaningful path for others to walk down and enjoy. My artistic drive to walk away from the well-worn path is my “core-self”.


The somewhat simple-looking collage attached is a representation of the “core-self” I am trying to explain, as well as a few more stories and metaphors that might help you better understand who you’re reading about (or listening to, or imagining speaking to you in a silly accent, I don’t know or judge).

The images each represent a part of who I am as a person and as an artist. They come from my hometown, Dundas, which each have a green outline, or my work and passion, Camp Kintail, which each have a white outline.

The whole collage favors the right side of the image, in the same way I tend to favor the “right” side of my brain.

THE LOGO: Nothing wrong with a little bit of promotional advertising.

RED LIFEGUARD CHAIR: The color red is complimentary to the green that dominates the rest of the collage, making it appear as an opposite. A chair or seat makes me think of an audience, and the artist’s opposite is the audience.

The snow makes me think of how cold it can feel to not be affirmed by an audience. That’s the good thing about writing this and the bad thing about reading it to someone, I have to risk not being affirmed. With that risk comes danger, and the need for lifeguards.

LEFT (SMALLER) PATH: Following this first path leads away from the staff housing and towards the lodge that marks the beginning of every work day.

RIGHT (LARGER) PATH: This path leads away from the camp and into what some people call the “real world”. I don’t like the phrase, because it implies everything I do at camp is all an illusion and that makes me all existential.

For the sake of the metaphor, the small, “working day” path is the daily grind of working, learning, and creating. The larger path, that is always visible from the smaller one, is the pipe dream of breakaway success; everyone dreams like this, the only difference is between who takes it seriously and works towards it and who dismisses the dream and is content walking a smaller path.

STORM CLOUD: This cloud formed in August 2015 when multiple storm clouds collided and formed a super-cell storm right over Lake Huron. We lost power and hydro at camp and had to flush toilets by swapping out buckets of water from the lake, taking turns running down to the beach and drying each other off from the rain. Sounds awful, right? Honestly, it was a lot of fun. These storms we encounter in life might sounds painful, probably be painful in the moment, but they tend to make good stories and better memories. And cool pictures. It isn’t of a path, but I like how it looks so it’s in the collage.

BEACH GRASS: I like this picture, because the mound of sand these grasses grow on always gets much, much hotter than the sand on the rest of the beach. Finding this little pocket of  concentrated solar energy was exciting, and I want to find more. Not on beaches, exactly, but finding the pockets of mental energy as they appear and disappear around the world, as people generate new ideas and create new things. These supernatural think tanks are my White Whale; I’m going to harpoon so many people’s brains by the end of my time, just you wait.

LOOKING UP AT TREES: The first picture from my hometown is of the forest canopy, from the trail below. I liked to look up as a kid, but in school developed a habit of looking down to avoid nasty looks from “big kids”. It’s important to remember to look up in life, and this picture is mostly in here for me, for that reason. Hopefully it can serve as a gentle reminder for you all too.

CLIFF/PEAK: This peak overlooks my entire hometown. It’s a small place, and that means if I make my work into a success I’ll be just like a Hollywood success story… I don’t know if there is pride to be taken in that.  The peak also represents my goals, and goal-setting is a major key to success.

PATH WITH RAILING: This trail leads to the aforementioned peak. I find this picture inspiring because of how worn the trail is. Many people have walked this real life trail to that peak and many people have walked the metaphorical trail to success. It is inspiring to be reminded of the ones who made it, because they were once children, once students, and now they achieved what (I assume) all of us want: job security.

I also made sure to label that it was “ART”, in case that was unclear.

I am passionate about the arts! I am also passionate about my camp – I bleed green for Camp Kintail  (or Ireland, as my family name is Donovan). I am also passionate about being a role-model: at Camp, kids are going to look up to whoever is wearing the all-powerful “STAFF” t-shirt. That shirt means I have to behave, and it means I have the power to teach these kids everything I can – so I do my best!

I believe in free speech and do-whatever-you-want-as-long-as-you-don’t-hurt-anyone ethics. That means zero censorship, zero drug control, and a bigger focus on finding and policing volatile individuals to protect the well-being of the whole community. I also believe in a global community; nationalism has led to two world wars in the past century and I don’t want to get drafted.

My strength is my ability to learn: I love knowledge, and I love the pursuit of knowledge! with the right teacher, anyone can learn anything – I’d like to believe the same goes for the right student too. My goal is to be that student, and one day, be that teacher.


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